We are now going to start studying things that we should look for that Jesus says are the signs of His Second Coming. There are some who get so wrapped up into the end times and what every headline means and they become no earthly good or they misinterpret the Bible to fit what is happening in our world today.
There are others who think it is too difficult to understand the end times and therefore they believe we should not study or think about it. We are going to deal with it because Jesus devoted time to it and so does the entire Bible.
23 of the 27 New Testament Books Mention the Lord’s Coming
Every time the Bible Mentions Jesus first coming it mentions His Second Coming Eight Times
One of the problems with talking about the future is depending on who you read they have a different interpretation of what is to come. The event that we call the Rapture is one such topic about the end times where people have varying opinions. The thing we know for sure is that what we call the Rapture is promised to us.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed
The phrase “Caught Up” means to snatch, to seize or to take suddenly or by force.
The word Rapture is not in the Bible. When the Bible was translated in latin it is where the word Rapture originated. So the event of what we call the rapture will happen it is a matter of when that many disagree on.
Main Views of the Rapture (This next section is a very general and is not meant to go into major depth of this topic)
A) Pre- Tribulation: The Rapture or taking away of the church will take place before the tribulation.
The main argument against pre- trib is it shows two second comings of Christ which pre-trib people say when Jesus raptures the church He does not step onto earth but takes His children to Him. Opponents of pre- tribulation see Jesus only coming once to the earth.
Some of the verses that pre- tribulation people use:
1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
Pre-trib believers think that they will escape the wrath of God during the Tribulation. When the Bible uses words like Thief in the night it is an indicator that no one will be ready for it because it will happen without warning. (Matthew 24:43-44) They believe that the signs that Jesus gives in Matthew 24 are indicators that Jesus rapture of the church is getting closer. They also believe that they will be spared from being any part of the end time tribulation.
B) Mid- Tribulation: The Rapture or taking away happens in the middle of the tribulation when the antichrist reveals himself
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a] 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
If mid trib people are right then Christ cannot come until 3 ½ years into the tribulation when the peace treaty is broken with Israel by the Anti- Christ. They believe that although Christians will see the Abomination of Desolation mentioned in Daniel 9 they will be spared of God outpouring wrath upon the earth.
C) Post- Tribulation: Christians will stay on earth throughout the wrath of God being poured out on it.
Post Tribulation people believe the rapture and the Second coming are one event and when Christ does return it will be at the end of the earth when Christ will begin His millennial reign on earth.
They believe like in Exodus that His people will be spared even though He is pouring out His wrath. Although they will be spared of the wrath of God they will still be affected by it just like the children of Israel in the book of Exodus. Some also believe that the suffering in the last times will be no more intensified than what others have faced. Just like many are dying for their faith in Christ overseas right now they believe that we will not see much of a difference than what has been done to Christians for Centuries.
Matthew 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
There will be no second chance so to speak for those who think they will see a rapture. Of course none of us knows when we are going to die anyway so we have to always be ready.
There are various degrees of each of those and I only reference them because as we walk through Matthew 24 those issues will arise and we will have to address them.
Book: Three Views on The Rapture, pre-tribulation, pre-wrath, or post- tribulation by Blaising, Hultberg and Moo
So the question that is always asked is: Are we living in the Last Days? The Bible says Yes
Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
We have to remember that because the Bible says that it is the last days does not mean it is the end. In our own lives we have many endings. End of the work day. (My day is done, no it is not you just are done at work) End of the week, month and so forth but that does not always mean final.
The Church age and the nation of Israel are also different and have to be taken into account as you study the end times. As you walk through each section you have to discern if the Church is taken away and the focus shifts back to Israel or if the passages are talking about the Church.
So what are the signs of the times? Visible and sometimes miraculous events, that point to something other than themselves.
This is important because so many people take every little thing and try and make it fit into Bible Prophecy. We need to make sure we do not allow every headline to be put into Bible Prophecy because the signs will be visible enough that followers of Christ will be able to see them clearly.
Read Matthew 24:1-6
There will not be one stone left on the other
The temple if not destroyed would have been listed as one of the wonders of the world. If standing today it would have drawn more tourism because even by todays standards it would have been awe-inspiring.
Walls made out of stones some 40 feet long 12 feet high and 12 feet wide cut from a single rock. Top was adorned with pure white marble with gold plates on the façade so numerous that people were blinded when the sun hit it. The temple was a continual work in progress and it was not completed till 64 AD 6 years before its destruction.
Titus gave specific orders according to History to leave the temple alone when they attacked but a soldier set the Temple on fire and when it was burning the gold melted in between the stones. between the stones.
Historian writer Josephus commented that anyone visiting the site would not believe it was ever inhabited.
Critics will say some of the massive stones of the retaining wall were left therefore showing Jesus prophecy was not true but what the Jews considered to be the Temple was thoroughly destroyed. It would be like saying that my house was destroyed if all that was left was the slab the house was built on. If someone came to me and said my house was not destroyed because the slab was still intact then I would call them crazy.
If you take the fact that Jesus words were recorded before the destruction of the Temple and the specifics of His statements it was a major prophecy that was fulfilled. If it would have been Nostradamus we would still be hearing about it to this day. Jesus gave a specific prophecy that was fulfilled and that is one of the reasons we can trust in Him and the Bible. He knows the future and so we should not worry no matter what comes our way.
Only Critics try and put the writing of Matthew after the destruction of the temple but the book of Acts was written before the destruction of the Temple as well and all evidence shows proof that Jesus claim was documented before it happened.
Tell us when these things will take place
The disciples did not see a gap in between Jesus being there and His taking over as Messiah. They thought Jesus at any time would be taking over as the Messiah and claiming His throne on earth. There is no doubt that even Judas saw Jesus as a political leader and with all the Power Jesus demonstrated through miracles that Judas thought he was in a position to assume power.
Every Jewish person longed for the day that the fulfillment of the Old Testament would come about and the disciples of Christ were no different. Even after Jesus raised from the dead they still did not understand.
Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?
Coming: (Parousia)means permanent presence or arrival
End: the end of this present world system and sin.
These two questions Jesus will now deal with. Jesus will tell them what are NOT the signs and then about the great tribulation.
1) World Wide Deception (24:4-5)
See to it that no one leads you astray
We have a responsibility to check and examine what is being taught. False teachers will continue in the church and will continue to lead people away for their own gain. So we will continue to see people led astray from the true message of Christianity in the last days.
The deception will become more increasingly intensified that even believers could be led astray if that was possible. This is not a sign of the end but only the things that will continue to happen.
Many will come in my name
This does not necessarily mean they will come saying they are Jesus but a representative of Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
See Also 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:13;
2) Wars and Rumors of Wars (24:6-7)
What is interesting is this is not a sign of the times because the rumors will always be that there is a war or about to be a war. We will have wars the rest of the time on earth until the end. No group of people will be exempt from these rumors or threats of wars.
See to it that you are not alarmed
Again we are given the command to not worry to make sure that we do not become like the rest of the world which is fearful and unsure of this present life. Fear is not from God and is always a tactic of false prophets.
2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
So if we are experiencing fear and it is not from God then who is it from? We are to always trust in God’s Sovereignty even when it does not make sense to us. Like trusting Children we are to follow God through the darkest of times knowing He has our hand.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The picture was that of a shepherd walking the sheep through the dark caverns as the sun was setting where robbers or wolves could be lurking. The sheep found comfort knowing their shepherd was not only with them but had the tools necessary to defend them.
No matter what the talk of wars or rumors of wars or economic wars we are to trust in God. What a testimony we will have in a world that is looking for peace when we as Christians show that Peace that can only come from God.
But the end is not yet
We have to be careful that we do not make things into signs of the end times that Jesus did not make into signs. He was warning His disciples that all these things will be happening but that it is not the end.
These things are forerunners to the end time events but not the end time events themselves.